PART TWO: SWIMMING WITH GANSTERS


“ Mommy the door knocked.’ I said

“ Okay, let me get it.”

The valet reminded me of the munchens in Wizard of Oz, because of their berets, and tightly fitted double breasted coats. But it wasn’t the valet or room service, or anyone that I recognized.

“Lucille, darling is everything to your satisfaction?”

“Hello Jack. Yes the room, flowers, and fruit basket are so lovely. Thank You.”

by Ronzoni

It was the smiling big faced, former bouncer of the Copacabana New York whose name I knew only as Uncle Jack.

Jack was subtle as a semi-truck; and if the world was coming to an end, I’d follow Jack. He had fingers thick as sticks of dynamite and he squeezed my blubbery cheeks until they turned purple. I knew a cheek squeeze meant the person loved me, so Jack didn’t frighten me. I learned thirty years later it was Jack Entratter; a man of chest heavy bullying, dinosaur New York threats, and answered to Frank Costello. I don’t believe he pulled out the Casino movie style butcher chopping that we always see. I just think Jack did what Frank asked, and Frank didn’t randomly demand nail stripping, ball butchering violence you see in the movies. Remember it is a movie.

My mother dressed up with a fur wrap (they wore furs in Vegas) and dressed me in a Pixie Town ensemble that was so starched I couldn’t bend my arm, and we went to the Copa, for the dinner show. Ella Fitzgerald was the feature entertainer of the night. If I wasn’t in a room at La Posada tonight, listening to Tito Puente and Johnny Pacheco, tipping a glass of Chilean wine, without all my files, and notes, I could reference many things about that night. I rented the house for the twelve days of Christmas and I cannot access anything other than what I brought. I could go googling all night, but it is close to time to eat, and parlay my chances in the lobby, meeting and greeting, as I feel I should do, because hotels are the only socially invasive venues left. I greet everyone who knows how to walk without revealing their miserable or self congratulating lives. I really like people who keep their triumphs and sorrows until the second or third time we meet. I don’t like digesting four courses unless I ordered them.

Ella, came out on stage, and we were seated under her heaving breasts, the first row, the closeness was dressing room intimate. There were others at our table but they were sort of like faded ghosts after Ella started her fireworks. TO BE CONTINUED.

SWIMMING WITH GANGSTERS IN LAS VEGAS


1961

I held my mother’s hand, as she led me through the casino, stopping to accept embraces, cheek kisses, and an occasional wink, before opening the door to our suite. The patio view to the pool was a kaleidoscope of flashing jewelry because back then women wore their jewelry everywhere. Umbrellas, stacks of white towels, shiny Ban de Soliel arms and legs, silver platters of cheeseburgers, dripping with blood, because back then rare was bleeding, and little toy poodles, that men smoking Cuban cigars and wearing Gucci loafers held up for the world to see. A bit of Mad Men in the desert, only the men were gamblers, celebrities or gangsters, who’d invite their wives to soften the martini’s and manage the children.

Ben Siegel

Ben Siegel


To be continued.

SANDY HOOK. NEWTOWN, MEMORIAL


Watching the memorial. It is not about gun control completely,prohibition didn’t work, drug control paid
the Mob, it is not religion, that is not to be used for our guilt, it is MENTAL ILLNESS. WE TAKE ALL OUR PHYSICAL PROBLEMS TO DOCTORS. But we do not take our mental problems seriously.

SIFTING THROUGH THE SNOW


The silky drape of the winter sky sometimes adorned with lacy clouds is blue as sea and has shaken the clouds all night so we have sixteen inches of snow   at the Santa Fe ski basin. I’d rather be sailing. I don’t happen to get snow shoveling without gut-wrenching lower back pain.  How do you shovel snow?

I’m wearing one cotton camisole, one shapeless thermo insulated turtle neck, a down vest, and when I go outside I wear a down jacket. I’m so bundled up it feels like my limbs are bound in masking tape.  My teeth look whiter and my hair is flat instead of frizzy. Snow changes everything.

From my desk, I write, without thoughts predefined, just a drain of emotional threads from my heart, listening to Zap Mama   as she takes me to the wild, naked, warm region of Africa. I wander into unfamiliar snowy woods unsteady, juxtaposed between, acceptance and self anger for being so so… whatever it is that I pump into myself.

Nothing is worthless; not one moment should be wasted because there is always that window of escape. Our minds are there to take us away. I’m escaping now, Zap Mama Pandora Radio station on the headset, and writing. This is taking the moment out of frustration and into pleasantry.

My steps inward returned  1210121316  accomplishments: emotional break-troughs, mundane tasks accomplished, solo ventures, match.com dates (another story) and a comedic sideshow as I wrestle with sealed boxes, make repairs, and toggle in my patent leather too stylish boots to actually be called snow shoes.   In these moments, I assure myself that evolving is never ending, and we do not ever know what to expect from ourselves.

DON’T YOU DARE TAKE CHRISTMAS AWAY.


What is this nonsense? Am I really listening to a national complaint against,

Christmas? Who needs a job? Whoever you are that started this, dig yourself a hole in the ground and meditate for a month.

I’m half Jewish, half Catholic-all I know about my mother’s religion is the holidays. They remind me of her, and how the two weeks transformed our home, because she happy, really looking forward to seeing her mom, and sisters, and nieces and nephews….

Whoever you are, watch Hallmark television. We are saps for comfort.